Monday Mornings with Madison

To Sleep Perchance to Succeed

Part 2 – Sleep and Work

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control indicates that sleeping less than seven hours per night is associated with increased risk for diabetes, stroke, frequent mental distress, and all-cause mortality.  It also can contribute to heart disease, and increases a person’s likelihood to catch a cold and/or develop an infection.  Obviously, all of these health issues affect punctuality, absenteeism, and morale.   Excessive absences result in decreased productivity and can have a major effect on company finances. Continue reading

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To Sleep Perchance to Thrive and Succeed

Part 1 – Sleep and Health

For many professionals, travel is a regular part of life.  Networking conferences.  Meetings with clients.   Training sessions.  Visits to regional offices, stores or plants.  And when work stops, vacations typically mean even more travel.  While many people consider business and personal travel a luxury and privilege, those who travel often know that travel has its drawbacks.   Besides the inevitable transportation hassles that come with getting there and back, there are other factors that make travel challenging.  Lack of sleep is one of the biggest challenges. Continue reading

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Core Values: Establishing and Executing

What does the company stand for?  Where does it fit in this world?  What are its’ “ways” of doing things?  The answer to those questions is what lies at the heart of any company’s core values.  Apple’s core value – established by Steve Jobs – was that people with passion can change the world.  When they launched the Mac computer, their campaign slogan was “Think Different.”  Their advertisements didn’t show computers.  In fact, their ads had nothing to do with their product.   It was about people who had changed the world.  Likewise, the core value for milk – represented by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council for what is the quintessential commodity – is that milk is good for you, which some argue is not even true.  Their most famous advertising campaign — based on their core value — was “Got Milk?”, which also did not show the product.  It actually showed the absence of the product, but the core value was clear. Continue reading

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Core Values: Creating Values that are Genuine, Bold and Unwavering – Part 2

For a business to thrive, genuine core values are invaluable!  Core values can set a company apart from the competition by clarifying its identity and serving as a rallying point for employees. But fake core values generate a cynicism that poisons the cultural well and wastes a great opportunity. The problem is that coming up with strong values—and sticking to them—requires a high degree of fortitude and grit… real moxie.  Indeed, an organization considering a core values initiative must first come to terms with the fact that, when properly practiced, values can inflict pain. They can make some employees feel like outcasts. They can limit an organization’s strategic and operational freedom and constrain the behavior of its people.  They could leave executives open to heavy criticism for even minor violations. And they demand constant vigilance.  In other words, it takes work for a business to have meaningful core values.  Companies unwilling to accept the pain of real core values shouldn’t bother going to the trouble of formulating a values statement. Continue reading

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Core Values: The Heart of any Business – Part 1

Change is a fact of life and an inherent part of business.  With technology, the relentless pace of change has accelerated forcing businesses to either catch up or keep up.  Companies are compelled to evolve with the times.  Phone companies evolved from switchboards and rotary phones to smart phones with data plans.   Record producers evolved from phonographs and vinyl records to digital downloads and playlists.  Car manufacturers evolved from hand-cranked motor cars in one-color models to keyless ignition vehicles with self-driving engines in most every shape, size and color. Change is indeed unrelenting, affecting almost every aspect of business.  Almost. Continue reading

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The Six Keys to Fulfillment and Work-Life Balance

In the U.S., work consumes a huge part of most people’s lives.  In 2014, 40% of all U.S. employees worked an average of 40 hours per week, not including the time it takes to get ready to go to work and the commute to and from work.  But the majority worked even more.  A Gallup report released in 2014 showed the average time worked by full-time employees had ticked up to 46.7 hours a week, or nearly a full extra eight-hour day.  And salaried employees worked an average of 49 hours per week.  In fact, 50% of all U.S. employees work between 40 and 60 hours per week, not including prep or commute time.  And for business owners and top-level professionals, a work week consumes upwards of 60-80 hours.  Since a week has just 168 hours and the average person sleeps from 35-60 hours a week (depending on the person), for many people there isn’t time for much else. Continue reading

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Enthusiasm: The Best Workplace Contagion

In the book entitled Be Yourself – Discover the Life You Were Meant to Live, author John Mason writes that “Every great and commanding movement in the history of the world incorporated enthusiasm.  Nothing great was or will be achieved without it.”  The poet and writer Ralph Waldo Emerson agreed, saying “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Mason added that, “In a survey, two hundred national leaders were asked what makes a person successful.  Eighty percent (of the respondents) listed enthusiasm as the most important quality.   Some pursue happiness – others create it.  A person who is enthusiastic soon has enthusiastic followers.” Continue reading

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Pride In One’s Work

Pride is often thought of as a flaw or sin.  “Being prideful” is considered synonymous with being conceited, haughty or egotistical.  It is the opposite of humility.  There are few personality traits more distasteful than a person who is prideful or boastful.  “Pridefulness” is seen as a shortcoming or failing of character.  However, there is another kind of pride.  “Taking pride” in one’s work is actually a virtue or quality.  It is one that employers should seek in new hires, and it is a trait that every employee should embrace and emulate. Continue reading

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Meeting Infinite Sales Demands with Finite Marketing Resources

There is a silent (or sometimes not-so-silent) battle waged between what the sales department wants and what the marketing department can and should deliver.  Business leaders may only be vaguely aware of this tug-of-war but it exists in most organizations.  There are two reasons for this.  First, salespeople are always under great pressure (internal and external) to make sales.  Not only does the company want them to sell more, but they themselves want to earn more.  But selling requires a lot of time and effort.  To ease the burden, they look to marketing for help.  Second, salespeople are bombarded by other companies’ impressive marketing efforts.  Newsletters.  Email drip campaigns.  Remarketing Campaigns.  Seminars.  Blogs.  Billboards.  Ads.  Videos.  Tradeshow exhibits.  Competitor marketing is particularly irksome.  Logically, salespeople believe that if they do the same marketing, they too will succeed.  This is the business equivalent of “keeping up with the Joneses.” Continue reading

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The “Many-Sizes-Many-Approaches” Business Model

One of the hardest things for businesses to understand is how their clients truly think and feel.  One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs and managers make is to assume that customers want the same things that they want.  Typical thinking goes something like this:  “If I like X, then my customers must like X too.  If I really dislike Y, then I’ll bet my customers must really dislike Y too.”  This “Just Like Me” mentality seeps into sales techniques, marketing campaigns, operational procedures, customer service policies and more.  But, in truth, management is often totally out of touch and confused about what their clients want or need in order to be satisfied and remain loyal.  This “Just Like Me” thinking is like a poison that seeps into the water… it blends in and contaminates everything.  It makes a manager mistakenly believe that he knows what’s best for clients because everyone thinks and feels just like he does. Continue reading

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